The Corona pandemic has drawn a lot of attention, at least temporarily, to the problems in nursing care for the elderly. Not only since the beginning of the pandemic have caregivers been pushed to their limits; there has long been a shortage of urgently needed personnel. Nurses in outpatient and inpatient care for the elderly are suffering from stress and overwork, and there is no solution in sight that would significantly relieve the burden. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that the number of people in need of care will rise rapidly in the coming years. By 2030, up to six million people in Germany will be in need of care, significantly more people than previously assumed.
It will be difficult for us as a start-up to solve the shortage of personnel; this will require politicians to set the course for the long term. However, we can provide meaningful support for caregivers through the use of technology. Nurses spend less than 20% of their time on actual nursing activities. Documentation, administrative tasks, and organizational issues eat up valuable time that is not spent with patients and residents. This is where we come in: Together with dedicated caregivers and facility managers, we have developed a platform to improve communication processes and workflows overall. Our app enables fast, secure and, above all, intuitive communication and collaboration between all those involved in the care process. In the process, we are digitizing a wide variety of processes in care. But now to the actual topic: What did our journey in the SMHCP program look like?
The challenge of Diakonie Baden as part of the SMHCP program fit our already developed solution, but even more to the vision of our start-up, like the proverbial fist on the eye. For us, the opportunity to take our app to the next level together with a strong and established partner seemed exciting. In doing so, we promised ourselves important synergy effects and, above all, valuable feedback from caregivers when we applied. So we applied and after a successful submission and pitch selection, we were among the selected startups for the first edition of the SMHCP program.
The program kicked off in Module 1 with a week full of input: workshops, training and exciting presentations on all aspects of healthcare. Without understatement, we can say that the EIT Health Germany team put together an incredibly high-calibre speaker lineup. We were able to learn a lot!
In Module 2, we had our first contact with decision-makers from Diakonie Baden after the application pitch. The contact was intensified again when we reached the third module and we were allowed to present a concrete proposal for further cooperation with the Diakonie. Also in the third module, we met other service providers of the SMHCP program virtually and had a good exchange there as well.
The official end of the program was the Demo Day, where all start-ups pitched again. Unfortunately, we did not win a ticket to the EIT Health Annual Summit in Stockholm, but we did win a great partner in Diakonie Baden, with whom we have continued to have an intensive exchange since the end of the program.
As a model, the Evangelische Altenhilfe in St. Georgen will soon be using our solution for internal communication purposes and offering employees important information via our digital bulletin board. The detailed feedback from users in St. Georgen helped us to adapt the solution to local needs in just a few feedback loops. Our common goal is clear: to start the pilot quickly in order to gather further feedback and, ideally, to be able to offer our app to other Diakonie institutions in the near future.
Together with Diakonie Baden, we are now further developing our solution for outpatient services as well. After all, mobile solutions that can be used intuitively are important for case managers in their day-to-day care. It is crucial that all relevant information is transparently available to the caregivers and that intuitive communication is ensured in real-time.
But it will not stop there. Another milestone will be the integration of caregiving relatives. Many people in need of care do not want to leave their familiar environment and continue to live in their own four walls with support. The approximately five million family caregivers are the backbone of home care for people in need of care in Germany. Around three-quarters of the 4.1 million people in need of care are cared for at home. However, the high burden does not stop at the relatives, which makes it all the more important to offer relief in cooperation with professional caregivers. Our app will facilitate low-threshold networking between family caregivers, outpatient services and other service providers in order to improve care and relieve the burden on caregivers. We will be working on this in the coming months with Diakonie Baden, committed local caregivers and other partners.
We are also considering research projects to test further innovative approaches to care on a sound scientific basis. Here, too, it helps immensely that the Challenge within the framework of the SMHCP program has had great support from decision-makers at the Diakonie from the very beginning and that the commitment at all levels is palpable at all times.
Apply and get started with the SMHCP program!
We are pleased to have found an innovative sparring partner through the program who is seriously interested in working with start-ups on an equal footing. In a short time, doors have been opened to us that would normally be closed to us, and we have found suitable contacts for our concerns. The insights we have already gained are incredibly valuable, so we can draw an all-round positive conclusion after the conclusion of the new SMHCP program: Dear start-ups, invest time in the application and the program, it is an extraordinary opportunity and can be the necessary booster for your development.